I Believe In The Dark Knight

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A true storyteller can often have the best insight on human condition. After all, in order to tell our stories, bards must have an intimate understanding of the forces that drive us. Within most of us, there is a struggle, an arc, a journey that is ruled by an internal conflict.

Often the key to said conflict can stare back at us the entire time.

Which brings us to the Dark Knight, the second of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy which I had the opportunity to rewatch the other night.

As for the movie itself, I think everything that needed to be said has been said: Christian Bale was a solid lead; the late Heath Ledger actually surpassed all the hype in his performance and Aaron Eckhart didn’t get the credit he deserved for his role as Harvey Dent.

Throughout the film, Bruce Wayne was seeking a white knight for Gotham. Someone pure of heart who could inspire the masses to be something better (not unlike what Superman does for Metropolis and the rest of the world). With his darkness fueling him as the grim vigilante, Bruce knew he couldn’t be that champion but he hoped someone could do for Gotham in the light of day what he did under the cloak of night.

Bruce finally thought he found that counterpart in Harvey Dent. Beautiful, charismatic and righteous, Dent proved a viable candidate. He was a man who seemed to have the fortitude to stand up to Gotham’s underworld without being corrupted himself. After all, you either die a hero or live long enough  to see yourself become a villain.

Enter the Joker, a man who simply wants to see the world burn and waged a war for Gotham’s soul. While Batman was incorruptible even in dire straits, sadly the same couldn’t be said for Dent. Ultimately Batman knew that in order to save the work he and Dent had begun, he took the blame for Dent’s murder and allowed himself to become a fugitive.

The irony is that even though he probably never realized it, what lied within Batman was indeed the pure of soul champion he had been searching for, the white knight  he thought he found in Dent. For only a man pure of heart would sacrifice himself without hesitation for the greater good. Only a man pure of heart would burden himself with the sins of others. In spite of all of his darkness and brooding , Bruce was the best of them. He always had been.

The lesson here being, the solutions we often search for outside ourselves, that semblance of completion, the resolution to that internal conflict, can usually if not always be found from within.

Funny how that epiphany hit home with me. And funny how I got THAT from a comic book movie.

 

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Putting Faith To Purpose

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So a few weekends ago, I had a homecoming of sorts as I was back in the Atlanta for Gaylaxicon/Outlantacon. The con was a smashing success but that was to be expected. I had a wonderful time reconnecting with my Outlantacon family and adding new additions to our merry band. This was also to be expected.

Enjoyed the panels I was on and the ones I sat in on. I had an incredible time and I didn’t want to leave, This too was  to be expected.

What wasn’t expected however was the revelation I would receive repeatedly during the weekend and the moment I returned from Atlanta.

In addition to the con, I also had the chance to catch up with my best friend, my brother, William. We caught dinner and caught up with each other’s lives and we both discussed the hardships of  the job-force. Our discussion forced me to ponder on what I’m doing with my life. Am I happy working the day job I worked? Am I content in my writing career? And as I expressed to Will, there’s more to life than the day-to-day rat race that we’re forced to endure.

A similar discussion emerged when I caught up with my other sibling and fellow storyteller, Amaya Radjani when she brought me up to speed on some exciting opportunities that she’s been offered. I found myself asking again, where am I? Where am I going? Am I happy? What am I going to do about it?

When I was younger, I swore that I was never going to become the guy who asked where did he go wrong in life and why is he stuck in a bad predicament. The signs kept pointing that there was something I had to learn this weekend, but I couldn’t figure out what it was.

Then the damndest thing happened. While I was in the hotel room, the movie Office Space was on. Of all the movies HBO could’ve played, they played the one movie where the protagonist was facing the same dilemma that I was facing at that time, that weekend.

I stopped believing in coincidences years ago. Call it Fate, call it God, call it some sophisticated probability, the message was being given loud and clear, it’s time to step out on faith and fulfill my purpose. I didn’t know how this was going to happen.

And no sooner did I return to work on Monday did some foolishness pop off and I knew right then and there, the time had come for me to move on and to fully embrace my purpose in life.

And what is my purpose?

I’m a bard, a storyteller. It is my art, it is my blessing, and the curse I’m burdened with. I have to write to stay sane. Whether it’s penning a blog entry for Livejournal, formulating an essay speaking out on the issues of minorities, utlilizing visual art to convey a story or share a profound truth, or writing another novel, this is my power. Like a shaman who uses his gifts, words are my tools to build, to aid, and in certain cases my weapons to protect. I share my story and the stories of others. I share our truths in an effort to make the world just a little bit better.

I had no qualms about working the dead end jobs while my writing took off but now I’m realizing that it’s time to kick it up a notch. I believe I’m meant to be doing something greater. And going forward, I’m going to attempt to restructure everything to work towards that purpose.

Regrets, I have none. As far as the past goes, I did what I had to do and I made the best decisions I was able to make with the information and resources that I had at my disposal at the time. Besides, I don’t think it was my time then. But I definitely believe my time is now.

I don’t know what all of this means or where I will end up but I definitely know that this is the path I’m  meant to be on. While I’m being mindful and wise about the choices I make, I’m not afraid and I’m not stressed out. For me, that’s saying something. That’s actually saying a lot.

I’m moving with purpose and stepping out on faith. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I get the feeling it’s going to be a hell of a ride.

Guns Shoot, Man Murders

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In which yours truly is about to express a very unpopular opinion and lose all raging liberal street cred.

I was going to leave this issue alone but I feel I need to get this off my chest or it’s going to plague me for the rest of the year.

I believe in gun control. I don’t believe people should have easy access (if any) to an AK-47 or an Uzi.

However, I also just as strongly believe in the right to bear arms. As a double minority in this country who is regularly discriminated against and has to constantly worry about personal protection, I can’t depend on the police (because half of them are crooks themselves) or the government to protect my rights or my personal safety and there may come a day where I may be forced to take up arms to defend myself or loved ones by any means necessary.

Outlawing guns isn’t going to solve the problem either. When something becomes illegal, people tend to want it all the more simply because they aren’t allowed to have it.

Stricter gun control laws will help and it needs to happen but it’s not the overall solution.

About a year ago I was watching a documentary and a point was made about America. One of the reasons why we have much more violence in this country as opposed to other countries is because of the rotting festering Wild Wild West mentality/culture that has existed since the inception of this country. There are other countries that have easy access to guns but don’t have a fraction of the violence we have.

We believe that might makes right and violence simply for the sake of violence is acceptable. We’re monsters with too much hubris to reflect or revolve because to do so would be perceived as weakness. We’re bullies, we’re abusive and we wonder why the rest of the world hates us but refuse to acknowledge, much less address the issues before us.

Until we change the culture and mindset, nothing is going to change. Whether it’s educating people on respecting firearms, easier access to mental health treatment, or hell, instilling in everyone to respect life.

At the end of the day, a gun is a tool. It has been used to take countless innocent lives, but it has also saved countless lives. Whether it’s an actual honest cop protecting and serving or a single mother defending herself and her children from a predator, or a gay man protecting himself from a potential bashing, or a black man keeping himself from being lynched. You address the mindsets that result in massacres like this, and that’s when you will see change and maybe then will guns become less necessary.

If this post is any indication, I’m very ambivalent when it comes to guns. I own this. On the one hand, I think the world would be better off without them. On the other hand, I’m planning on purchasing one, taking classes, within a year. I’d rather have one and not need it, than to not have one and need it. I’m leaning towards a Beretta in case anyone’s interested.

And no, having a gun in and of itself will not make you Superman. In fact you are more likely to get shot if the attacker knows you have a gun simply because you are perceived as a threat.

Which is why I’m always smdh when people (usually white folks) drone on about how campus shootings would never happen if everyone was allowed to carry guns.

People who believe that (again usually white folks), clearly have never been in the inner city. In the inner city, EVERYBODY has guns. The bangers, the drug dealers, the cashier at the convenient store, even 78-year-old Mrs. Jenkins who gets around in a walker. She’s packing hardware too and will bust a cap in a fool who tries to break into her house. They possess guns either to commit crimes or to protect themselves from criminals, but crime and shootings do not suddenly decrease because a criminal knows you have a gun. Hell, policemen have guns and they get shot at all the time.

And by the way Tenn., I’m gonna need you NOT to pass anymore laws making it legal to carry firearms into bars.

The guns are the tools and yes they make killing easier than other weapons which is why people are quick to use them and stricter gun laws should happen. But until we address the root causes as to why people commit these crimes, mental issues, hate crimes (reinforced by the rampant bigotry that pervades our media), poverty, whatever the case may be, expect more of the same.

My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the victims and survivors of this heartbreaking tragedy today. And I’m glad to see Mainstream America showing compassion and outrage over the senseless violence that befell these innocent children.

I would really love to see that same type of reaction from America the next time the children murdered aren’t (primarily) white but black and brown, be they Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Lawrence King, Darius Simmons, or those Muslim babies children who were gassed in an Ohio Mosque a few years back.

But that might be asking for too much.

And for those of you looking to help after the latest shooting.

Okay I’m done now. As you were.

Jobs Well Done

 

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” -Steve Jobs

 

As most of you are no doubt aware, yesterday we lost Apple co-founder, inventor and visionary Steve Jobs along with Civil Rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth.

This will surprise no one who has known me for over five seconds but for many decades I’ve been a diehard Apple fan. I was an Apple fan before Apple became cool. I’m the proud owner of major Apple product: iPods, iPad, iPhone, I’m even composing this post from my Macbook Pro.

A few years back, one of my counselors was gracious enough to pass me this commencement speech from Jobs. It was most inspiring and one I’ve re-read frequently over the years.
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This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

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And to celebrate Jobs’s legacy, I’m reposting one of my favorite videos.

 

Dyslexia and Me

So over on SisterSpooky: Book Fangirl, my good friend Laura (aka Sisterspooky) penned a very powerful piece on dyslexia and how she functions with this condition.

I’ve known Laura for many years and she is hands down one of the smartest, most beautfiul, quirky and amazing souls I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. I had no idea about her condition. I have nothing but the utmost admiration and respect for her bravery to step forward and share her experiences with dyslexia.

It’s an incredible and enlightening post and you should definitely check it out.

Back in art school, I taught at its academic support center and I met a student who suffered from dyslexia. I first met “Maya” during the first week of school. She was in the center taking the transitional english course. During the first week, we administer a pre-test simply to assess where the students are. No one is expected to pass or do well for that matter. Everything presented in the pre-test will be a subject of study throughout the 10-week quarter period. Unfortunately Maya wasn’t aware of this and became intimidated by the questions (wording and terminology, etc.) to the point that she broke down into tears. Don’t get it twisted. A millitary veteran, Maya is tougher than half the men I know so by no means is she weak. But this is how intimidating dyslexia can be. Especially if you don’t know that you have this condition. Which is what I would soon discover with Maya.

I discovered that she had problems with reading her entire life and that was why she was afraid to come back to school to pursue her degree. As Maya described the problems, it sounded as if she had a form of dyslexia. I assured her that the pre-test was the hardest thing in the quarter and that no one is expected to do well. I informed her that I have a B.A. in English and even I found the pre-test challenging. Maya explained that she dreamed of returning to school so that she could get a degree in graphic design but dreaded facing her problems. I told her the most important thing for to do was to not give up. I told her it took a lot of courage for her to face her fears and that I would be happy to work with her.

Over the next few weeks, Maya had herself tested while I compiled English websites which she could use to help her in class. In addition I took the initiative and spoke with her English professor and Maya and I set a course of action. The doctors confirmed that she had a form of dyslexia. She utilized the resources that the art school offered for students with disabilities and/or conditions.

Maya was ecstatic as she aced her English class as well as the lab. And last I spoke with her, she was on the verge of receiving an A in the class.

Even though Maya thanked me for my help, the truth is, I was the one who benefited from the experience because she was an inspiration.

Here’s a woman who overcame her obstacles to pursue her dreams and never gave up. While Maya did all the heavy lifting in attaining success in her class, it is both honoring and humbling to think that maybe I had a small part in that.

The Cost Of Being A Champion

“I’ve had a lot of people talking at me the last few days. Everyone just lining up to tell me how unimportant I am. And I’ve finally figured out why. Power. I have it. They don’t. This bothers them….You guys didn’t come all the way from England to determine whether or not I was good enough to be let back in. You came to beg me to let you back in. To give your jobs, your lives some semblance of meaning.”

-Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Checkpoint

So this weekend, I had to chance to catch up with an old buddy, V, and she was telling me about how things have been for her. I was happy to hear that her relationship with her boyfriend was going well and she just got a promotion at work. I lied. I wasn’t happy for her. I was ecstatic. Because I know how hard she’s worked both professionally and personally to get to this stage in her life and she deserves all these blessings and many more to come.

Unfortunately, there has been drama at work. V has been the target of a vicious smear campaign at work. Rumor mongering, lies, the standard cliquey Mean Girls BS at work. Despite the fact that V is one of the sweetest souls you’ll ever meet, being a successful woman of color has incited racism and resentment from many of her white female colleagues. And sadly, because many people act like lemmings, opinions become facts and lies become truths if enough people claim it.

And while she’s done her best not dignify that BS, it was obvious that it was getting to V.

I told V the story of an ex friend of mine who basically engaged in the same kind of jealousy. One Friday in particular, he and I got into a heated argument over a bad situation. To take my mind off of things, I read through my weekly batch of comics. At the conclusion of Ultimate Spider-Man #38, there’s a scene where Peter is watching a video that his father made for him when he was an infant. Reading this issue, I felt like I was Peter receiving a message from God (Peter’s father).
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“Oh Peter. I have all these things in my head, things I think as your father you’ll need to hear. You’re going to find there are people who you are going to look at and say: why is this person like this? Why did this person do that to themselves?

And I swear to you, if you stare at them for 50 years, you’ll never understand why they are the way they are. I have people like that in my life, people who are just their own worst enemy.

And instead of dealing with it. Coming to terms with it, all they can do is lash out at you. Blame you for their own problems, for their own —- whatevers.

Don’t let them, Peter. Don’t let other people blame you for what they do to themselves. I feel that as your father that I have to warn you of the chaotic mess you are growing up into. And it’s a mess. People everywhere reacting without thinking. Lashing out. They don’t even know why.

Everyone trying to be more than they are, which would be fine if they actually earned it. But more and more, that isn’t the case. And that’s what drives me nuts. I find myself surrounded by people who will do or say anything just for the appearance that they are better than they are. More than they are.
Never for a second do they actually try to be better. They just want to appear better. They want to be special without going through the trouble of actually earning it.

And if you have millions of people running around like this, well then what do you have? What kind of world is that? …

It’s been a rough year, Peter. But I tell you, no matter how crappy things got with this whole mess, I found myself not really caring all that much. Because, end of the day, bottom line, no matter how bad the day is — I get to come home and see you. I get to watch you grow up. So how bad can my day be?

Just knowing I get to watch you become the man that I know you will grow up to be. All this other stuff — it doesn’t matter. All that matters to me is you Peter. You and your mom. And I can’t wait to see how you turned out.”
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And this is the cost of being a champion.  The righteous walk a thorny path and you’re trying to do something positive in the world. As such, the jackals are going to do their damndest to derail and hinder your progress. That’s what haters do, As Katt Williams pointed out:

Interestingly enough, my friend and award winning activist Monica Roberts posted this amazing piece on her blog on Friday. And while the entire post resonated with me, the following passages really stood out:

‘You hate me because you wanna emulate me.’

“It lets me know I’m on the right track in doing what I need to do.  It lets me know that you’re ‘scurred’ of me for whatever reason in your minds. It lets me know that you are so bothered by the fact that I am speaking my truth, uplifting a longtime downtrodden community and fear me doing my part to get Black transpeople to see themselves in a positive light.”

“When I’m getting inspiring e-mail from people around the country and the world telling me they appreciate what I do, a post I wrote inspired them, or a post I wrote dissuaded them from committing suicide, that means more to me than any sniping or derogatory commentary you haters can come up with.”

Recently, a friend forwarded me this excellent article by Jake Shannon which also gives some sage advice on handling haters:

“My father’s advice was particularly funny. He suggested you thank the “haters” for spending so much time thinking and talking about you since it proves how important you really are to them. The odd thing about most haters and muck-rakers is that they are seldom producers, that is, they seldom produce anything but negativity and hate…..

So, when confronted with nasty criticism, remember two things first:

1) IF they are brave enough to not hide behind fake internet usernames, take a look at the detractor’s history. Do they have a long history of offering nothing but negativity, drama, and smearing others? Have they ever produced anything but nasty criticism?
2) Remember who you are and whose opinion is REALLY important.
……..

Always remember first, what are YOU proud that you’ve produced of value or earned?”

I shared all of this with V and I think it helped her. At the very least I think it was comfort to know she wasn’t alone. As I reminded her. Haters are gonna hate, liars are going to lie. It’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to. Let them. At the end of the day, they’re still going to be miserable, in Hell and still looking for someone else to blame for their failures. For all their lashing out, it’s never going to be enough. It’s still going to eat away at them. When all is said and done, she’s still going to be successful and coming out on top.

Because that’s how champions roll.